The first part of the book of Revelation actually begins in a pretty run-of-the-mill manner. No dragons, no incredible creatures, no language that is hard to understand. Just the apostle John, being given a revelation and taking dictation for a letter from God to each of the seven churches.
The letters all follow pretty much the same format, with God being the speaker: “Here’s what you do well. Here’s what you do wrong. Repent.”
I wonder what God would say to us as moms?
I bet it’s very different from what He would actually say.
We think that if God were to write us a letter in the same style He wrote to the churches in Revelation, it would go something like this:
To the mom in that too-small house in suburban Cleveland, write: I know your deeds. You got up in the middle of the night last night and gave your child cough syrup. But this I hold against you: You make plain, uninspiring meals. You let your kids eat junk food too often. You can’t throw a birthday party that is fit for Pinterest. You get impatient. You’re not as creative as the other moms in your child’s preschool/homeschool co-op/dance class/soccer team. Your kids refuse to eat anything unless it’s covered in ketchup. You don’t understand Common Core (or, if you homeschool, you don’t do enough projects). You need to start doing a better job, or else!
We assume that God might find some small thing to praise us for, if He looked really hard and wasn’t that picky. But He’d have plenty of things to tell us to do better.
Maybe that’s because we find it much easier to see our flaws (real or perceived) than to celebrate our successes. And if we can see them, then God can certainly see all that we see, and then some. Since His standards are perfection, and we’re far below that, then, well, how many good things could He really have to say about us?
Yes, God’s standards require perfection—in terms of sin. But not in terms of making honest mistakes, failing to know everything there is to know about raising kids, or possessing only minimal abilities to help your child with his science project. This kind of imperfection is in no way sinful, and we shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
Yet before I tell you what kind of letter I think God would write to us, let me be very, very clear: I do not claim that these words are directly inspired from God. I am simply sharing with you something I imagine God would say to us, something in keeping with biblical truth and His character. I do not claim special revelation. Nonetheless, here is the letter, and with this, I will close:
To the mom who finds it far easier to see what she does wrong than what she does right, write: I know your deeds. You got up in the middle of the night last night and tended to your sick child. You do that every time your child needs you. You change the sheets on your child’s bed every time she has an accident—again. You choose meals for her that you hope she will enjoy. You make the hard choices for your child—which friends? Which clothes? How much media time? When’s bedtime? And you’re willing to let your child get really angry at you, because you know you’re doing the right thing—or at least, you’re trying, and hoping you’re doing the right thing.
You buy soap and shampoo for your child. You wash his clothes. You give up sleep to tend to him, and you’ve given up the hope of ever eating a hot meal or taking a shower in peace and quiet for at least the next 16 years. You’ve been to the ER more than once, and the pediatrician thousands of times. You sacrificed your own career to stay home with your child—or you work really, really hard outside the home so that you can earn money for the things your child needs.
You’ve spent money on children’s prescription medications and gone without your formerly regular trips to the beauty or manicure salon. You’ve become willing to become known as “so-and-so’s mom” rather than your own name. You’ve forgotten what you used to talk about with your friends before you had children.
I love all these things about you. I love them, and I love you, and I’m thankful that in this way, you feed my sheep.
But this I have against you: You try to do it all in your own strength. You fail to realize how much I could help you, so you go on struggling in your own power. You don’t come to Me for the physical strength and soul strength I would pour out upon you if you would just ask.
I’m willing and eager to help you, daughter. Come to Me for everything you need. Let Me tell you what an incredible job you’re doing. Let Me make you confident and reassure you with My love. You are beyond precious to Me.
Scripture basis: Revelation 1-5, various citations
Adapted from Megan Breedlove’s blog, Manna for Moms. Megan is the author of Well Done, Good and Faithful Mommy and Manna for Moms: God’s Provision for Your Hair-Raising, Miracle-Filled Mothering Adventure (Regal Books.) She is also a stay-at-home mom with five children.